Session on “Shaping your Career, Your Own way” by Deepak Sawhney – 2nd Financial Talent Summit, Delhi 2019

Shaping your Career, Your Own way


Speaker: Deepak Sawhney, Executive Coach and Story teller, Founder, Phrenimos

Moderator: Parijat Garg, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Quadeye securities

Written By: Jyoti Soni, CFA


Deepak Sawhney is a veteran coach, motivational speaker and people’s person. He interacted with almost every participant during networking time post-lunch.  He took no time to understand the problem areas and career requirements of CFA candidates and members and suggested them practical solutions.

He started his presentation with an interesting small video clip, wherein two people stepped on an escalator but unfortunately, they got stuck in between as escalator suddenly stopped due to some technical failure. They preferred to call someone for help instead of getting off the escalator themselves which further complicated their problem. His point was that jobs today are not the escalators like they used to be, where you got on at the bottom and they carried you to the top if you just stayed on it. He asked the audience, what they thought about career and how it should be defined. People came up with different views like career means job progress, developing skill set, monetary reward, or series of job.   He put it rightly, “career is the long path or journey of our work life”.  Deepak told that it is foremost important for a professional to have career vision in clear quantitative terms. One should know, what one would like to achieve in next 5 years and next 10 years.

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Next he explained four trends evolving in the job Market:

  1. Blockchain: Block chain technology advancement has simplified issues like salary processing, tax issues management of offshore employees.  Many large and medium size companies are implementing new technology for their offshore offices and human resource management. Today, companies can easily expand operations beyond their home country. Eventually, professionals should look for these newly created opportunities.
  2. Contractual Jobs: For all Fortune 500 companies and other big corporates, there is a clear shift to employ human resources from payroll jobs to contractual job roles. This helps the organization to be more agile with limited liability.
  3. Flexible jobs: Companies have changed their employment approach. They do not want all fix/ permanent employees in fast changing world. Companies are looking for competent and talented people in the specialized areas and introducing flexible opportunities for skilled people. Companies are ready to take work from remotely located employees
  4. Networking: Freelancers and job searchers are using networking portals to seek opportunities

Deepak suggested, a job seeker should eventually understand above trends and explore most suitable opportunities for oneself. Then he started a new chapter, that how to define a successful career and command your professional life. He opined a monotonous work without any new learning does not add any value to someone’s career, so this kind of work experience is not of much use. He emphasized on vital ingredients for career recipe, as below:

  1. 101 Hours of training each year:  It is imperative to invest time on your learning. Everyone should engage in at least 101 hours of trainings in a year which is required for the next level growth.
  2. Work experience Visa: One’s education & professional certifications are like his or her passport. These certifications make him eligible to stand in a job queue only. However, he cannot get a job offer without required skills like soft-skills, technical skills and work experience. He stated that the requisite skill sets and work experience are like visa stamps on the passport. These stamps are mandatory to receive a job offer. Hence, it is important to verify, how many such stamps you have on your passport.
  3. World is “VUCA”: World today is Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. One should accept this very fact and be well prepared to face difficult situations.
  4. Have a Mentor: Professionals should seek for mentorship for next move in his career. One should identify technical knowledge or education required at a stage of his career. Role of a mentor is crucial for providing right direction and also helps in leveraging the skill sets for career growth.
  5. Social Media Profile: One’s social media profile, Linkedin, Facebook are used by the employers to reach out required candidature. Today, recruiters evaluate candidate with their social media profile. More than 60% of the recruitments are fulfilled with the support of social media. It’s imperative to have your strong profile presentation at social media.
  6. Have a Coach: A coach is the one who help you to understand yourself. Since most of the times, we are busy with our work and a routine lifestyle and we hardly have time to be conscious about our inner self. Our limiting believes can hold us back. A coach can stretch our boundaries and guide us in right direction for building right career
  7. Weak Acquaintances: Weak Acquaintances are those people, to whom we meet incidentally in an event or through social media contacts. We greet them occasionally on New Year, birthday or some festival. These acquaintances may turn very helpful at times, if we do not hesitate to share our need with them. Any of them can introduce a great opportunity to you.
  8. Keep your resume updated: Everyone irrespective of whether you are looking for a job or not, should update his resume after every six months. When, you don’t have any new certification, skill, Learning, work experience to add in your resume after six months, this means you are stagnant in your career.

When Deepak was asked, why he chose to become a professional coach and left his successful corporate career, he shared his own career story. He told that he always enjoyed his work and climbed the career ladder just the way he planned. When he was at a senior position, he loved to guide and train his team like a coach. He helped them to understand their key competence and goals, by questioning them. Questioning process is thought provoking, works like a catalyst for self-motivation. He opined if a good leader coaches his team rightly, it leads to wonderful outcomes. Deepak had proven coaching skill and passion about training and now this has become his key focus area for rest of his life.

At the end, Deepak again explained the steps which every professional should follow. First and foremost step is to have a clear vision of the career path, second step is to understand his natural strength and build it further, the third step is to work towards his career vision and to acquire the required skills along with keeping oneself updated, fourth step will be to invest money and time in himself and finally make yourself available at social media and look for right opportunity.


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“Building a Successful Career in Financial Services” by Radhika Gupta at 2nd Financial Talent Summit, Delhi 2019

Building a Successful Career in Financial Services


Speaker- Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management

Moderated By: Dr. Monika Chopra, CFA, Assistant Professor, International Management Institute

Contributed By: Shivani Chopra, CFA

“How’s the market going?” is a question that people regularly seek a reply from Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management. But “No one is sure ever! “is how she feels about it, given the highly volatile business environment. Financial services is a sector where one is learning every day. However, in order to successfully build a career in this arena, the speaker encourages everyone to thrive on CHAOS –

C – Core Strength

H – Happiness

A – Adaptable

O – Opportunist

S – Simplicity

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Radhika shared stories from her life and related to each of the five ingredients in CHAOS, in her aptly titled presentation – “Around the world in 35 years”. She deliberately picked up stories from her life as she strongly feels that bull and bear periods are not only about the capital markets but also about our lives. Her father was a diplomat and with her family, she moved across countries every three years. This opportunity gave her distinctive experiences to learn from. She shared her learning from her experiences in five different countries.

Life Stories

Story #1 from Italy – What’s your CORE?

Coffee is an integral part of Italian culture. Italians tend to value high quality beans and they are loyal to specific flavours offered by local brands. They might be considered lazy people but they know exactly what they want- a locally brewed coffee! Surely, even a global brand like Starbucks can’t succeed in Italy to quench the coffee thirst. The example of Italy teaches us to find our core i.e. our coffee. Your core is what you excel at. One should build a career that is an expression of oneself. When we will celebrate our core, others will. It will also become our personal brand. But remember to stay original as copies aren’t worth much.

Story #2 from Nigeria – Can you spread HAPPINESS?

Even though Nigeria is one of largest oil producing countries in the world, the nationwide corrupt practices do not even allow its citizens to get the fuel without waiting in long queues at the gas stations. One may ponder about the quality of life in the country and think how unhappy people must be. But surprisingly, in a world happiness report, Nigeria had +40 points while United Kingdom had -44!

So, the moot question is – can you be happy even if your life is not perfect? Nigerians are happy–go-lucky people as they are deeply rooted in their communities. This loyalty toward their fellow people makes them comfortable and happy. Radhika related the happiness factor to our job lives. She said that people work for people and not brands. Whether it’s your first job or fifth job, do not join for brands but for being happy. Likewise, employers should also foster an environment which values its workforce. Employees will remain happy and contended which would also keep attrition at bay. Happiness has a longer life than money.  Additionally, her advise was to build communities and not just networks.

Story #3 from United States – Can you ADAPT to hell?

This is the story from 2008 global financial crisis that toppled financial markets all over the world. The Americans showed their true grit and bounced back victoriously. Radhika shared an example of her former employer, AQR Capital Management. It is a great example of a company which changed gears from serving largely the institutional clients to retails clients. After losing most of its assets after 2008 financial crisis,today it boasts of an AUM of 200 billion dollars. While most of the stakeholders are bound to panic in crisis like situations, Radhika suggested that one should remain agile and adapt during crisis and added that “Great companies as well as great careers are built through crisis”.

Story #4 from India – Can you be ON THE ground?

Radhika co-founded Forefront Capital in India and as an entrepreneur she learnt to be on the ground. That meant doing the hardest things herself. She says ‘the Devil is in the details’. However big you are, once you become an entrepreneur, you should be willing to get your hands dirty. No job should be too small. She learnt that being an investment professional was only 20% of the job as an entrepreneur, the other 80% rested in the ability to handle operations, legal, marketing, compliance, etc. Having a broader skill set usually pays off.

Story #5 from Denmark – Can you stay SIMPLE?

Denmark has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, yet its citizens have chosen to live a simple life. Even the senior most leaders commute by bicycles. Likewise, the speaker emphasized on retaining the element of simplicity in businesses also. She suggested that whatever success you get at business, keep yourself simple, keep business simple, and remain grounded and happy.

Viewpoints shared during the Q & A session-

  • On launching a financial start-up– Don’t wait for all pieces to fall in place. Just start!
  • On disruption due to newer technology– Develop soft skills. You cannot claim to have only technical expertise as you need to build skills that cannot be automatable, like leadership, empathy, etc.

Overall, the session provided a great insight on the qualities needed to succeed in financial services industry. Indeed, our ability to adapt to changing environments can make a huge difference in whether we choke or thrive.

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Market Outlook- May 2019 by Navneet Munot,CFA

Navneet Munot








Contributed By : Navneet Munot, CFA, CIO, SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd and Chairman, CFA Society India

Market Outlook-
India has had a long NPA cycle playing out in its banking system starting 2012. Just as the market was getting hopeful on withering away of banking sector stress, the other financial arm, namely NBFC sector saw the signs of stress. Default by the IL&FS acted as a catalyst and increased the concerns on liquidity and asset-liability management (ALM) mismatch for other NBFCs and HFCs.

The non-banking financial sector was a beneficiary of formalization, digitalization and financialization of the economy at a time when banking sector was facing challenges. Surplus liquidity conditions post demonetization helped the sector immensely. Consequently, we saw a handsome increase in credit disbursement by them. In the last one year however, the re-monetization was rather fast and the inter-bank liquidity gyrated from surplus to deficit by 2H 2018. Further, crude prices rose, foreign capital inflow weakened and rupee depreciated prompting RBI to hike rates in 2018. Combination of these factors sucked out cheap money, creating challenges on managing both liability and asset side for these entities.

If global history is any guide, liquidity crisis not handled well can translate into some sort of solvency crisis. Since the IL&FS default in September 2018, nearly Rs. 7 trillion of debt has been downgraded by various rating agencies. A handful of them have seen steep downgrades in a very short span of time. A part of corporate India, particularly promoter entities with higher leverage, is also facing the stress. The real challenge for markets will be when liquidity risk intersects with default risk, which could then amplify credit risk into a downturn and have contagion effect.

Presently, the risk aversion has heightened amongst all the key market participants and policy makers need to act swiftly. The system needs three-pronged approach at macro level, a) reduction in cost of funds, b) massive liquidity injection and c) backstop arrangement for the illiquid assets. Thankfully, benign inflationary environment offers ample space for easing. But transmission of monetary easing can only happen in the environment of easy liquidity.

The US adopted Troubled Asset Relief program during 2008 crisis wherein the government purchased toxic assets and equity from the financial institutions to strengthen the financial sector. Similarly, the Eurozone had longer-term refinancing options (LTRO) which enabled cheaper funds to financial institutions by keeping these troubled assets as collateral. India too needs to think fast, bold and creative and provide some sort of backstop arrangement.

Simultaneously, at a micro level, this needs to be complemented with entity level resolution. For example, during 2008 crisis, some entities had to go under (Lehman), while swift solutions were found for rest of the system (for example, Wachovia was bought by Well Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley saw capital infusion by influential investors, Government infused capital in AIG and CITI).

Over the years, with improved digitalization, the access to credit has improved. But we still have a long way to go. India’s credit as (% of GDP) is low and financial system will need to deepen a lot more. The NBFEs have played a significant role in financial inclusion. Some of them successfully have grown into Small Finance Banks and Scheduled banks. These non-banking players are typically seen to have stronger niche in credit origination, credit appraisals, risk assessment and recovery. They have built a network, systems and processes for origination, particularly in the unorganized sector. But they face challenge on building a stable liability side. Further, the refinancing options and the line of liquidity to them are not as strong as the banks. India’s wholesale funding market has not grown in line with the size of the economy.

On the other hand, the banking system, particularly the PSU banks have a very strong liability side. While the banks benefit from cheap and relatively sticky liabilities base, the non-banking financial entities have displayed better expertise in building asset side and reaching out to the unbanked individuals and entities.

The policy makers need to capitalize on the differentiated skill set of both these entities. The development of securitization market can help. The assets originated by NBFCs/HFCs can be pooled together and subscribed to by banks, insurance, mutual fund and pension funds as per their risk taking ability. Globally, ABS/MBS are a very large market supporting the growth of the economy.

Concentration of risk and ALM mismatch has landed India into the NPA issues time and again, be it the NPAs in DFIs, late 90’s and the current cycle of NPA in banking system and the recent challenges with NBFEs. Even the credit risk funds in the mutual fund, which take exposure to illiquid assets are vulnerable to redemptions at short notice.

Turning to the global experience again, the solution lies in developing the Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) market, where we have patient capital with highly specialized skill-set. These funds can channelize a part of long-term savings with higher risk appetite which in turn will fund the kind of assets that had so far been funded by banks/
NBFCs/ mutual funds. Apart from private equity and venture capital, we are witnessing higher participation of AIFs in other illiquid asset classes like distressed debt and commercial real estate. This is a healthy shift, but we need a substantially higher size and diversification in their participation.

As we said, the current solution lies in improved and cheaper availability of funds and a more targeted approach at entity level. We also need to revive the growth momentum. Currently, the lack of robust profitability in the corporates had lengthened their deleveraging process. Particularly, the challenges in the real estate sector had kept
the asset prices stagnant and hence the relative debt levels higher. Hence, a focus to revive real estate sector and the overall economy in general is also much needed.
After the system is back to normal, we should not lose focus on the long-term structural reforms, better capitalization of financial entities, right set of prudential regulation, stricter supervision, and a robust risk management system. Structural reforms and further development is needed in money market, corporate bond market space and also at the institutional level (including banks, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance, auditors, NBFEs and rating agencies). Greater access should be given to the foreign investors who will bring in not only much needed savings but also best practices. Good reforms of the recent years like JAM trinity and MPC framework can structurally catalyze the financialization of household savings in India. India is a capital deficient country with large infrastructure and long-term investment needs. Against this backdrop, people’s faith in capital market should not be allowed to falter under any circumstances. A focus on long term picture instead of knee-jerk and piece-meal reactionary response is critical.

India needs disintermediation. If the intermediation between savers and lenders is done by banking system alone, then we may end up concentrating the risk in the banking system where there is “implicit” guarantee by the sovereign (given the public perception that a banking entity will not be allowed to default). A growing, large economy actually needs an efficient risk sharing mechanism and not hyper concentration.

Financial sector and a part of corporate India are facing tough times while the economic growth has also slowed down. Pro-active measures taken swiftly and boldly can reverse the ongoing challenges and put India back on a much-awaited cyclical uptick. India has a host of positives to its side such as relatively lower credit to GDP for the system as a whole (the extent of leverage was much higher in US, Eurozone, China and other EMs facing similar issues). Corporate non-financial sector has deleveraged their balance-sheet over last four years and has both the need and ability to undertake capex activity, thus propelling growth. Inflationary environment is benign and favor monetary easing. The positives of the recent structural reforms are yet to play out and there is an inherent support to demand in India. Financial stability is more important than ever to keep growth trajectory right.
Navneet Munot
CIO – SBI Funds Management Private Limited
May 7, 2019

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Panel Discussion: Future of Work in Wealth Management at 2nd Financial Talent Summit, Delhi -2019


Industry Expert Panelists: 1) Ashish Kashyap, founder & CEO of INDwealth 2) Soumya Rajan, Founder, MD & CEO Waterfield Advisors 3) Rajendra Kalur, CFA, Management consultant & Board member for CFA Society India

Discussion moderated by: Gaurav Kaushik, CFA ,Associate Director, Kotak Wealth Management

Written By : Jyoti Soni, CFA

The 2nd Financial Talent Summit held in Delhi saw an active participation from more than two hundred delegates. The momentum continued post lunch when the panel discussion started on the eagerly awaited topic – “Future of work in wealth Management”.

Gaurav initiated the discussion by highlighting the rapid growth that has taken place in the wealth management industry recently. The AUM of the Indian mutual fund industry grew more than 3 times from INR 8 lakh crore to INR 25 lakh crore in the last 4 years. More remarkably, India’s Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) size jumped multi-fold from INR 6 thousand crore in 2015 to INR 2 lakh crore today. In the post demonetisation era, the structural landscape has changed for better and the industry is expected to grow at a double-digit rate until 2025. Formalization of Industry has resulted in an acceptance of investment vehicles from physical assets to financial assets. This transition can be attributed to several reasons like –

  • Acceptance of financial securities as collateral: Earlier, the business community would invest heavily in real estate as it was the most acceptable security by the banks while approving business loans. Today, for the same purpose, banks are giving equal weight to the ownership in financial securities. Subsequently, businessmen have shifted their investments to financial securities for better returns and liquidity.
  • Building a diversified portfolio: Ploughing back of profits was a common practice followed by the promoters but now they are open to diversify their portfolio to achieve optimal results.
  • Better Estate Planning: Today, family owned businesses have a very clear succession plan. If the family is not interested or competent to manage the business, they would not hesitate to look for sale opportunities. The proceeds received from sale are often invested in financial instruments with the help of competent wealth managers.
  • Emergence of family offices: A culture of family office has emerged since the last four years and this trend is expected to continue

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Ashish mentioned that even today we have only 16 million demat accounts for a population of 1.25 billion people. He further opined that even big players are just scratching the surface.  Industry is highly under penetrated despite presence of many organized wealth management platforms which have been launched in last 10 years. He recalled the pain points that he had to face as a customer that led him to eventually get into this business and focus his products to be more client centric.  Ashish strongly advocated that future of the wealth management industry would be driven by technology i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML). Technology will enable an environment for a) data science, b) accessibility and democratization of information, c) cost-efficient structure d) convenience of personalized service. It was suggested that a customer should be first convinced for trust, governance, seamless transaction service and transparency before adopting a wealth management platform.

Rajendra Kalur shared the changes he has seen in the ways investment advisors approach their clients today from the time he made a shift from being an employee with some of the big wealth advisors to an entrepreneur. He mentioned that earlier the role of an investment advisor and a sales personnel was performed by the same person and products were sold on commission basis. The situation has changed for better now. The investment advisors in his advisory firm are dutiful, sector agnostic, fund agnostic and ethical. An investment advisor should be trustworthy and capable of bringing solutions to the client.  He believes that the CFA level-3 exam curriculum provides a very good guide on how to go about the wealth management process. Also the importance of ethics is instilled deeply into the candidates as the program progresses from the first level to the third level. Ethics lays a foundation for a long term sustainable advisory relationship.  He also highlighted the expertise that an investment advisory board can bring to a large client.

Soumya Rajan emphasized further to the right service level of a wealth manager. She believes that an advisor needs to have a good balance of IQ & EQ. A wealth management company should not be like a manufacturer of financial products and then as an advisor on the same products as this leads to conflict of interest and misselling. Rather a wealth manager should aspire to find the best solution for the client. A manager should understand client’s investment limitations and goals and set his expectations right. This will make him a successful wealth manager.

To conclude, the role of new emerging wealth management platforms and boutique wealth managers is very critical. Wealth management industry needs many boutique wealth managers to serve the large untapped base of clients. CFA curriculum is globally recognized for high standards of ethics and best technical knowledge. CFA charter holders are capable of imparting good services to their clients. Today’s wealth managers require adoption of technology for efficiently serving their customers. India’s GDP growth of 7% p.a. and an under penetrated market promises a big show ahead for this industry.


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Session by Eric Sim, CFA – 2nd Financial Talent Summit, Delhi 2019

Building your Online Presence and Brand


Speaker : Eric Sim, CFA- Founder, Institute of Life

Moderator : Jitendra Chawla, CFA- Director, CFA Society India

Written By : Shivani Chopra,CFA

The 2nd Financial Talent Summit held in Delhi on 27th April, 2019 was a day full of learning and fun. CFA Society India in association with CFA Institute organised it to cover broad themes related to personal branding, building and shaping career in fast moving business environment in financial services industry . The first speaker of the day -Eric Sim, CFA – founder of Institute of Life conducted a session on “Building your online presence and Brand”. He presented ideas to use social media as a tool kit to quickly advance in career and standout among peers. Below are the key takeaways-

  • Eric began by sharing his life story- From a teenager who failed in subjects like maths and english to making it to the top management of an investment bank. He is currently teaching in many business schools and has set up his own company- Institute of Life.
  • Eric quickly got to the main theme of his presentation. He said, whether you are selling a company’s product /service or selling yourself as a brand to seek a job or business opportunity, there are “Seven Steps of Selling” that can be used -(1) Identify target (2) Build Rapport and Trust (3) Identify needs & Problems (4) Present Solutions (5)Overcome Objections (6)Execute (7)Follow-up. When we begin our job search, we should identify the target as the potential HR hiring manager. Step #2 is the most important-we should try to build rapport with team members of that HR Hiring manager or other employees working in the firm we wish to join
  • Benefits of a Personal Brand – (1) Attract talent (2) Attract clients (3) Attract employers (4) Charge a premium (5) Develop yourself. If you are not developing your personal brand, you may be attracting employers but may not be able to achieve Step #4 – charge premium and get an attractive pay package. After all, it’s Apple’s iconic brand strategy through which the company is able to price its products at a premium. Remember to introspect and see yourself clearly to develop an online personal professional brand.
  • 3 qualities of a personal brand- (1) Trustworthy (2) Competent (3) Interesting-It’s good to be both trustworthy & competent but being competent without being trustworthy is dangerous. Also, if you are not interesting, points 1 and 2- trust and competence do not matter.

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Social Media Strategy to jumpstart professional transformation-

The talk delved deeper on how to exactly create a personal brand using social media especially LinkedIn (where Eric has 2.5 million followers!)

  1. Use of LinkedIn –If we google our name with the current designation, the first web link that appears will be our LinkedIn profile. Therefore, while we can make use of other social media tools such as Twitter, FB, etc., we must make LinkedIn as our primary platform. For every job, hundreds of applicants apply and hence it’s important that our LinkedIn profile is done up well. He also recommends keeping the same professional picture across the social media.
  2. Be a TV Show- In other words, ”Be conscious of what you post”. Here, Eric’s message was that one should produce a TV show rather than giving an appearance of oneself as a TV commercial. 9 out of 10 should be posts which can add value to the reader (TV Show) and 1 can be generic or promoting yourself (TV commercial). For eg,  if you want to post about your visit to Delhi, you may want to inform about the best places to take clients out in Delhi rather than just posting a random update or picture
  3. What to Post- Again, the focus should be to add value to readers. Tell stories in your posts as people are attracted to stories. Share inspiring stories which are worthy of reaching broader audience. If you want to post about the food you just ate, consider going behind the scenes-talking to the chef and taking pictures of the kitchen. To get a firm grip on your content strategy, try using LinkedIn 2019 Editorial calendar. It’s also okay to reveal failures.
  4. How to Post- In the post social media world, adults have an attention span of only 8 seconds. We must start the posts strongly. Capture readers’ attention with an interesting first sentence. That first sentence will get the reader to read the second sentence and so on. The below example was shared-

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born” – Richard Dawkins

  1. How to take photos- The human brain is attracted to visuals more than text, so post interesting and thoughtful photos. Eric is very creative and impressed the audience with his photography skills. Try shooting from a low or a high angle to give your connections a different perspective.
  2. Infographics- Infographics also add a lot of visual appeal. UBS has fantastic infographic features.
  3. Expand your network- Networking is the key- Go offline to connect online. The speaker gave an idea of printing “LinkedIn QR code” on business cards. This way people will scan the code and connect with you in a jiffy
  4. Be Authentic – Eric not only has a solid follower base, they are extremely loyal as well. Being original and authentic goes a long way. Accumulate good karma by helping people first before you expect anything in return. Refrain from using misleading titles such as market leader, etc.
  5. Extreme Time Management-Being highly organised is an important habit of highly successful people. Develop discipline in day to day activities. Writing down everything is a rewarding routine to follow.

The presentation was followed by a few questions from the attendees. On being asked about how his humble background affected him in his professional arena, Eric’s response was that initially he was not very open about his background and failures but with time he realized that people relate with you better if you share your story with them. He rose from being a failure to being rich and successful and people see him as a role model.

By the end, everyone had got the plan to implement the social media strategy and Eric left them with a call to action – “THINK BIG, START SMALL AND ACT NOW”.

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Making Sense of Investing – Session By Mr. Rajashekar Iyer

Contributed By : Sidhant Daga

The Kolkata Chapter of the CFA society hosted Mr. Rajashekar Iyer on the 5th of April, 2019.Mr. Rajashekar Iyer, has been recently featured as one of the super-investors in the book titled “Masterclass with Super Investors” where he has discussed about his journey in the stock markets


  • Explaining on how equity class performs as an asset class, Mr. Iyer mentioned that over the past 30 years,if you take different 10 year periods, you’ll get average returns as measured by the index of ~ 13.5%(before dividends and taxes)
  • If one takes a 10 year period and makes around 14-15% CAGR, one will make a 2-3x of his initial investment at the end of the period, and over 30 years it will be ~ 30-40x of your initial investment.
  • Mr. Iyer mentioned about  how only a small amount of savings went into the equities till 1990, it went up a little in the Harshad Mehta boom period, it came down and has again risen, but is still overall low.
  • The three components which make the equity return are : Market,Stock Selection and Market Timing.
  • One can make higher returns by proper stock selection and better market timing.

Mr. Iyer shared  historical data for the market return profile (BSE Sensex) for the last 30 years.


  • One can do defensive investing by buying and holding a well diversified portfolio of leading stocks bought at regular intervals. One can also invest in index ETFs.Defensive investing helps a defensive investor to achieve overall market returns, but extreme discipline is required to carry out the same.
  • Mr. Iyer explained how cash calls are sometimes more imp than stock selection as in good times even bad companies rise and how cash calls help in generating higher returns.
  •  The speaker gave an example of how one must hold on to a stock till its rising and upward pyramid his trades once his trade gets in favor. He told of how he entered MRF and sold it early with only 100% returns ,  if he would have held on, he could have earned much more.
  • The speaker stressed on how one must be in the markets most of the time but not all of the time. Cash calls are imp. to enhance returns. Historically one had to only do 5 cash calls in the last 27 years. Markets are bullish most of the times.
  • Mr. Iyer showed how one could have earned a return of ~ 43% if one would have timed his cash calls correctly and had remained invested only in the bull runs since 1988.


  • In every bull run, the leaders are different. For eg. – In 1998-2000 it were the IT stocks that made money, in 2003-2008 it was infra and power that made money. Identifying the leaders is imp. to generate high returns.
  • One must not sell a stock just after  one’s investment thesis has played out, but still hold it till the stock price is rising to generate maximum returns from that particular stock. One must keep trailing the SL as the price of the stock moves higher.
  • The 3 triggers which cause bull markets to end are- over valuations, economic slowdowns and increasing interest rates. Any one of the 3 can trigger the start of a bear market.
  • Stock selection is far more imp. at the top of the markets than at market bottoms.
  • Proper stock picking requires immense amount of time and discipline.
  • Extra returns via proper stock picking creates a huge difference in the long run. An ‘x’ amount of investment would be 56x with a 14% cagr after 30 years , whereas, it would be 237 x with a 20% cagr and 2620x with a 30% cagr in the same time period.

Mr. Iyer showed the astonishing variance between top performing stocks and worst performing stocks-


Above data is based on market cap in 2014, returns are from 20th March 2014 – present.

  • Position sizing is very imp.
  • Mr. Iyer mentioned how patience is very important, one must only follow a style which suits them, one must buy or sell only based on own conviction and not on borrowed conviction
  • The speaker told one should try finding patterns in past multibaggers and use it to find probable multibaggers of the future.
  • Sometimes under researched companies outperform over researched companies.
  • One should pick a business with good economics, good ROEs, increasing sales, scalable business model, good quality management.
  • One should judge a management by looking at management’s strategic thinking approach, execution capabilities and integrity.
  • One must spend enormous amount of time in improving their investment skills.



Q1) What is your criteria to select companies?

A1) I look at past performance, if it’s good , then why? , is the good performance sustainable? For example, Relaxo has increased its sales multiple times in the past few years, they have not diluted their equity, margins and realisation per unit has improved due to better product mix.It seems it is likely to continue. The suppliers of the co. gave positive reviews, there is scalability in the business.Thus we can see the past performance is good and seems to be sustainable.

Q2) How do you identify inflexion points in a co.?

A2) Sometimes it’s via accident. One can sometimes observe inflexion points by correlating current affairs with companies which are going to benefit from the same , for eg. I did in a photographic film co. after Govt. announced it is mandatory for everyone to have a photo id.

Q3)How much time do you invest in selecting a co.?

A3)It’s around 1-2 weeks. The faster you reject bad companies the more time you get to spend on good companies.

Q4) Do you do further research after completing your initial research?

A4) Yes. For example, In Relaxo I contacted the suppliers. I also contacted a shareholder who has been holding a stake in the company for the past 10 years.

Q5)Has there been instances where you had a positive view for a company but it changed to negative?

A5) Yes. I regret of not buying Havells based on negative comments of one of my friend. One must form judgement only by himself and not get influenced by someone else’s judgement.

Q6) How to build a position in a stock?

A6) One should do upward pyramiding and must have immense discipline with respect to stop loss.

Q7) Your views on career in a sell side or a buy side?

A7) Sell side is more of a tracking job as a certain sector or industry is allotted, one gets a fixed pay and sell side also helps in  understanding a proper analysis framework. In  buyside, the risk is higher as one has to choose what to research and what not to and where to invest.

Q8) How to overcome Behavioral issues?

A8)One must have processes to overcome these issues. For example have a gameplan before entering a stock as to what will be my stop loss, what is the % of my capital I’m willing to invest and lose in a particular share.

Q9)Where do you see the Sensex by 2025?

A9) At Least 100% up from now.

Q10) Should one follow contra investing?

A10) One should not contra invest just for the sake of it, being against the trend without a proper evidence is a pretty bad idea. If one has facts on one’s side, then only one should enter contra bets.

Q11)What are the red flags one must see before investing into a company?

A11) One must avoid companies with low ROE, promoter integrity issues and  companies where there is a lot of lending to sister companies.

Q12) Do you invest in PSUs?

A12) Generally no as I don’t know about the quality of the management.


  • Anatomy of Bear Markets
  • Winning on Wall Street
  • How to Make Money in Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times and Bad


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Masterclass with Super Investors – Book Review

Contributed by: Jagpreet Bhatia, VA Capital

In the category of practical investment management books, I found it to be one of the best reference guides, especially so in the Indian context. The book is written in the original OID (Outstanding Investor Digest – the most sought after investment journal published in the USA, bringing forth in-depth conversations with the best investment managers) format, where the Portfolio Managers are cross-questioned on their investment themes and stock ideas. The book gives a 360-degree view of multiple managers, all of which are following very different strategies – to help novice learners understand that there are multiple ways of practicing the art of Value Investing. The managers talk about their broad philosophy and current themes that they are observing in recent Indian business landscape, and drill it down to how they select individual stocks, decide on entry/exit prices, and most importantly, take decisions on portfolio allocations.

The book consists of a wide variety of investors and their idiosyncratic styles. Some started with zero capital, whereas some had prior family wealth; some are very diversified, whereas some are concentrated. Similarly, some are pure Grahaminian (balance sheet numbers oriented analysis), whereas some are qualitative (understanding business as a full business acquirer would do) in their analysis. Moreover, some like to interact with management and influence management to take minority shareholders friendly actions, whereas others like to act as passive investors.

Masterclass with Super Investors front - small size

Such a variety of processes not only helps a learner to hone their own skill set, it can also help one think about how one can create a business around investment management or how one can maximize the potential of building wealth for oneself and others.

The reader will also get to notice multitudes of shades of personalities amongst these Super Investors – ranging from business-minded thinkers, to dealmakers, to aggressive takeover artists, to mathematical wizards, to networkers, to turnaround artists, to win-win solution finders, etc. A reader will notice that a wide variety of thinking tools can be built in one’s repository of available methods to perform in securities markets.

These super investors were also very open to discuss their own emotional states of mind during difficult periods in the markets. Some explained how difficult it is to sell during uptimes, as it appears foolish to the novices and retail investors – how immense mental fortitude is needed to stand by the decisions of sale, apparently appearing stupid during the upswings. Equally important is the stamina to hold on to a business during free falls and decisions to hold over, over decades. They discuss the art of balancing emotions between activity and patience. How managers, working with public capital, have to develop a strong skin, and stand by the emotional storms and client’s heat during the falling prices. One can vicariously understand the pains born by the Super Investors during the bear markets. As a know-nothing novice investor, one can observe by getting into the shoes of these investors and empathize with them on the brutality of the markets and its effects on their personal life.

These super investors had also been very generous and open to sharing their mistakes made over the last few decades. Mistakes like wrong thinking on themes, wrong promoter selection, too much activity, not allocating adequate amounts of capital to single bets, poor allocations, giving too much weight to market noise, etc are visible in interactions with these managers.

Such investor’s background also highlights that continuous learning is more important than expensive conventional schooling! Few managers are completely self-taught in concepts like a business, accounting, entrepreneurship, social networking, etc. They show that to survive in the markets, curiosity, questioning pre-formed existing beliefs and self-education are some of the most important skills. It gives lots of confidence to autodidactic self-learners.

The authors have done good work of giving financial data and charts wherever a security is discussed by these investors. It provides a more in-depth understanding of the thinking process of investors. The accompanying charts show the art of buying process, averaging up process, averaging down process, lengths of holding periods. Moreover, it also explains how decisions were made during stock drawdowns (fall in stock prices from the tops) and finally the selling process or taper downs (sell downs made over a long period of time).

Such a hidden wealth of knowledge regarding investment thinking wouldn’t have been accessible to the learners, in such an engaging bare-all conversational format, without the efforts and patience of the authors. The authors fruit of work – finding these hidden investors, reaching out to them, persistently following to engage them, traveling all over the country to reach them – is finally shaped into a very interesting and thrilling book. To any learner, this acts as a go-to the Bible on India’s finest investment minds.

Overall, looking at these investors journey over last three decades, it gives us immense confidence, that with time, patience, curiosity and continuous learning, building massive wealth is not out of reach for an inquisitive learner.

Readers can order the book online at – It is available in hardcover only – no kindle edition.

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